Jeff Sessions says marijuana ‘will destroy your life’

Emily Gray Brosious

Jeff Sessions says marijuana 'will destroy your life'U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes questions during a press conference at the Department of Justice on March 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions hammered home his steadfast opposition to legalizing marijuana while simultaneously displaying his own ignorance on the subject during a speech on violent crime in Richmond, Virginia, on Wednesday, March 15.

Sessions, who has a long track record of opposing marijuana reform and an equally long record of supporting tough-on-drug-crime legislation, described marijuana as “life-wrecking” and attempted to couple the dangers of marijuana with those of heroin.

He waxed nostalgic for the good old days of drug enforcement in the ‘80s and ‘90s, suggesting the same course of action could solve today’s drug crisis.

“So we need to focus on the third way we can fight drug use:  preventing people from ever taking drugs in the first place.

I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.

In the ’80s and ’90s, we saw how campaigns stressing prevention brought down drug use and addiction. We can do this again. Educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs and addiction will result in better choices. We can reduce the use of drugs, save lives and turn back the surge in crime that inevitably follows in the wake of increased drug abuse.”

What Sessions doesn’t mention is the staggering 700 percent increase in U.S. prison populations from the late 1970s to 2005, which has disproportionately affected people of color and is largely attributable to aggressive drug war policies during this period, as reported by the Huffington Post.

Sessions also makes no reference to legal pharmaceutical opiates, which are widely recognized as a key pathway to heroin addiction for many Americans, according to a 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Read transcripts of Sessions’ full speech, in all its reefer madness glory, here

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Related slideshow:

Where Trump’s cabinet picks stand on marijuana policy

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Gallery source links:

Mike Pence – Leafly, On The Issues, NORML; Reince Priebus – The Denver Post; Rex Tillerson – CNN, CNN; John Kelly – CBS News, Drug Policy Alliance, Military Times; Mike Pompeo – NPR, Vote Smart; Nikki Haley – CNN, Tenth Amendment Center; Steven Mnuchin – NBC News, Senate Committee on Finance; Jeff Sessions – USA Today, Politico; Ryan Zinke – Americans for Safe Access, Vote Smart; Sonny Perdue – On The Issues; Hemp Business Journal; David Shulkin – Department of Veterans Affairs/Scribd; Tom Price – NORML; Scott Pruitt – Associated Press; Rick Perry – “The Hugh Hewitt Show”; Mick Mulvaney – NORML

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